Technalign CEO Dianne Ursini says that registered users will have access to the server in order to download regular product updates and fixes. She says the updates are free of charge as long as the user inputs a bona fide MEPIS serial number. Technalign wrote the security code that creates the serial numbers and ties them to unique Media Access Control (MAC) addresses of network adapters so users cannot share the numbers with others.
Ursini says she is putting the serial number system in place to regulate bandwidth and to keep from having to charge for updates. "Everybody's charging for updates," she says, "but no one wants to buy a $50 package and then pay for monthly updates."
If a registered user of MEPIS gets new hardware, they won't necessarily have to buy a new copy of the software. "We allow people to change computers by filling out a form online and still get the updates free," she says.
MEPIS creator Warren Woodford said that he won't be supplying Technalign with ISOs with serialization integrated until after MEPIS 3.4-3, which is in release candidate stage now, goes final. Woodford says that registered users will get the fastest and best updates for the boxed version of MEPIS. "Dianne is shipping a boxed product and making a commitment to have a specific version on store shelves and having it supported for a long time," he says. "That includes Debian repositories that are in sync with the versions she sells, so that the buyers will not have to go through what you might call 'Debian repository hell.'" Woodford and his team are in charge of creating and maintaining the special retail version repositories.
Users of the free version can still get their updates from the standard Debian pool, according to Woodford. "Whatever we do in the community is completely separate. We're more of a moving target."